One junior high school has kids finding balance with yoga, as they literally are stretching out their stress.

At Auburn Junior High School, the students in Kristi Newton’s health class have been doing yoga. They find that it is fun, as well as providing the benefits of exercise and reducing stress.

Newton finds that yoga in the classroom is not just for physical exercise. She personally used it as a way to cope with grief after an unexpected death in her family several years ago. She felt that it might help her students cope with their own issues and stresses.

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She began by having students do simple chair yoga in the classroom and then expanded it with help from media specialist Marcella Didio at the school library. After receiving a $600 grant from the Auburn Educational Foundation for yoga she started a class in the library. The money purchased tapestries, flameless candles, and yoga mats.

This fall, things went to yet another level when the teachers took a digital class from the University of Rochester. They applied activities from the internet to help students learn about yoga, doing activities such as a trivia game, and had students read yoga related articles and view videos. In addition, they have featured guest instructors via technology from people located in Texas and Georgia.

“That’s our hope, that at least we gave them stepping stones. What they do with it from here on out after they leave Auburn Junior High is up to them,” Newton said.

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